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Sylvester James Jr. aka ‘Sylvester’ was born on September 6, 1947, in California. He grew up singing in church and developed a love for it; however, he eventually left the church after the congregation had disapproved of him being gay. After he had left, he met and befriended Black Drag Queens and Transgender Women who referred to themselves as ‘Disquotays’. In 1970, At age 22, he moved to San Francisco, which was a hub for many Gay Clubs, and has a significant LGBTQ+ history.
After moving to San Francisco, he joined an avant-garde Drag group called ‘The Cockettes’ (founded by the Drag Queen Hibiscus) He eventually left the Cockettes to pursue a solo career.